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  #21  
Old January 17th, 2005, 07:50 PM
koneko
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Chris Kuan wrote:
Our advice may change slightly based on exactly which days you are

in
Japan. For instance, the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka (not "Minatara") is
closed on Tuesdays! And the cosplayers in Harakjuku only come out on
Sundays (just outside the entrance to the Meiji Shrine).


ah, thank you for the tip. i should have mentioned the days of the
week i'd be there. so, if i went to the Ghibli, it would be on a
Friday... phew! but this means i miss the cosplayers =( (well, i guess
this means I can leave my anime costume at home! LOL!) So... Meiji
Shrine is by Harajuku? Bob M mentioned that above, I might have to
visit that temple instead of one of the others...

will have to get my location names straight... I keep getting them
mixed up! (Askausua and Akasuka... Mitaka and "Minatara!")

The subway + rail system in Tokyo seems overwhelming because there is

so
much choice. Note that the "train" system is run by Japan Railways
("JR") and is separate from the multiple subway lines so you can't
necessarily go to the big "train station" (usually JR) in a suburb

and
expect the subway platforms to be right next to the JR platforms. But
they'll be nearby in the station complex. The convenience of the

subways
is that they serve the smaller suburbs and criss-cross Tokyo in

several
places, saving much time. Just think of it as a big game of Snakes

and
Ladders and the subway map might be a bit easier to follow :-)


Thank you for clarifying that! I was getting really confused! The
maps of the train/subways make it look even more complex, and the maps
don't tell how far everything is from one another!


On a purely selfish note, as you come down
from Toyko Tower, a couple of the floors of the podium are shopping
arcades. Mostly crap souvenirs, but there is a "Donguri Kyowakoku"

store
there, which sells all manner of Ghibli goods - the store's name

means
"Acorn Republic" or some such, which of course is a Totoro reference.

If
you can wheedle 15 minutes in the store from the tour guide, it's got
stuff which even the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka doesn't carry - official
products of course, but the store in the Museum is rather small - and
crowded as heck. You can easily spend 20 minutes in the Museum just
queueing up. Beleive me, I've spent (literally!) far too much time

there
(^_^);


Oh!!! great tip! If the Ghibli tix don't happen, at least I can get
great Ghibli merch! Maybe Tokyo Tower must be done after all... just
for the giftshop... I could always meet up with the group later?


Mmm... if you are going to see the Imperial Palace and the temples in
Kyoto, you *could* skip these. In Toyko, you will only see the East
Garden because the actual Palace area is only open a couple of days

per
year. The gardens are OK and there's one or two small historical

sites.
Same for Asakusa Kannon (the one with the huge iconic lantern at the
entrance). But really, you've paid for the tour already and it's only
taking up one morning. And you can still use the last half of "Day

2"
in Tokyo to do some independent sightseeing


I found out the two days that the Imp. Palace is open... it's Jan 2 and
Dec. 24, LOL! and now that Tokyo Tower is the only one I really really
want to do, and it's first on the itinerary (that gift shop!!) I might
adjust a little bit. Or just take the tour, since it's only the
morning. Or move on to Ginza so I can get to Shinjuku/Akihabara/etc.
one of the other shopping districts and get to see them!

Day 4 Tokyo/Kyoto- transit
will probably have the evening free, thought we'd roam Gion.


Sounds like a good idea :-) If you get there just after lunch, I'd

say
head out to Kiyomizudera straight away, and then Gion (it's pretty

close
by) in the evening.


Oh, great idea! =) I hope we get there soon enough. What's the latest
you'd say we should get in Kyoto and settle into the hotel before
heading to Kiyomizudera?

That is one heck of a trip :-) By the way, where are you travelling
from? That jet lag might hit on the morning of "Day 2" and you might
appreciate being led around by a tour guid while in a semi-dazed

state
rather than having to navigate an unfamiliar city on your own:-)


LOL. I forgot to tell you, I'm actually going to be in Asia for a
while, before getting into Japan. I'll be in the Philippines for 11
days prior, so I am really hoping to be sort of accustomed by then.
But I'm not of the most hearty disposition (if this were anime, I'd be
the girl that always faints and asks, "Is it anemia?") so maybe I
better not get too ambitious! But this is something I've always really
wanted to do, I've always wanted to go to Japan... and since I start
working this year, I don't think I'll be able to go to Asia again for
at least 5 years, and there's just so much I want to cover! I just
wish I had a couple more days... right now I'm only getting tiny bits
of fashion, anime and history!

  #22  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:04 PM
koneko
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wrote:
Can you still drop the tour? It's easy to get to and explore the
Asakusa Kannon Temple by yourself, and the market street leading up

to
it is very interesting - you might want more time in that area, which
also includes many traditional Japanese craft shops. The Imperial
Palace and most of the park surrounding it are closed to visitors
except for two days a year, and the closest you can get the rest of

the
time is a distant glimpse of the Palace from one corner of that park,
so I wouldn't really call it a must-see experience for someone on as
short a schedule as you are.


Thank you for the tip on the Imp. Pal. I found out the 2 days it is
open... 1/2 and 12/24, so this seems like I can skip out on it. I
might do Asakusa on my own as you suggested. =)


In the evening, definitely choose Shinjuku. It's the image of Japan
that most people have in mind - neon, crowds, noise, action, and it's
streets are full of revolving sushi restaurants, karaoke parlors, and
traditional Japanese bars.


Shinjuku is defn the more "electronics" shopping area, I gather? I was
wondering, what are the dept. stores like in this area? I am wondering
if I can skip Shibuya and do Shinjuku instead... Tell me, how does
Ginza compare with Shinjuku?

If any of your days in Tokyo happen to be weekends, Harajuku and
Shibuya have some very interesting people-watching opportunities -

they
are the center of Japan's youth subcultures. Harajuku also has a
beautiful Shinto Shrine. On a weekday or at night, they're much less
interesting.


I am in Tokyo on W-Th-F... Friday night should be a good time to catch
Harajuku, right? Is Harajuku closer to Shibuya? The youth culture
sounds really fascinating too!

Since you're interested in fashion, you might want to check out the
neighborhood Daikanyama, which has many independent designers.


Thank you for the tip on Daikanyama! Wonder where I can squeeze that
one in... =)

  #23  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:04 PM
koneko
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Default


wrote:
Can you still drop the tour? It's easy to get to and explore the
Asakusa Kannon Temple by yourself, and the market street leading up

to
it is very interesting - you might want more time in that area, which
also includes many traditional Japanese craft shops. The Imperial
Palace and most of the park surrounding it are closed to visitors
except for two days a year, and the closest you can get the rest of

the
time is a distant glimpse of the Palace from one corner of that park,
so I wouldn't really call it a must-see experience for someone on as
short a schedule as you are.


Thank you for the tip on the Imp. Pal. I found out the 2 days it is
open... 1/2 and 12/24, so this seems like I can skip out on it. I
might do Asakusa on my own as you suggested. =)


In the evening, definitely choose Shinjuku. It's the image of Japan
that most people have in mind - neon, crowds, noise, action, and it's
streets are full of revolving sushi restaurants, karaoke parlors, and
traditional Japanese bars.


Shinjuku is defn the more "electronics" shopping area, I gather? I was
wondering, what are the dept. stores like in this area? I am wondering
if I can skip Shibuya and do Shinjuku instead... Tell me, how does
Ginza compare with Shinjuku?

If any of your days in Tokyo happen to be weekends, Harajuku and
Shibuya have some very interesting people-watching opportunities -

they
are the center of Japan's youth subcultures. Harajuku also has a
beautiful Shinto Shrine. On a weekday or at night, they're much less
interesting.


I am in Tokyo on W-Th-F... Friday night should be a good time to catch
Harajuku, right? Is Harajuku closer to Shibuya? The youth culture
sounds really fascinating too!

Since you're interested in fashion, you might want to check out the
neighborhood Daikanyama, which has many independent designers.


Thank you for the tip on Daikanyama! Wonder where I can squeeze that
one in... =)

  #24  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Bob Myers
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wrote in message
oups.com...

Can you still drop the tour? It's easy to get to and explore the
Asakusa Kannon Temple by yourself, and the market street leading up to
it is very interesting - you might want more time in that area, which
also includes many traditional Japanese craft shops. The Imperial
Palace and most of the park surrounding it are closed to visitors
except for two days a year, and the closest you can get the rest of the
time is a distant glimpse of the Palace from one corner of that park,
so I wouldn't really call it a must-see experience for someone on as
short a schedule as you are.


Were the original poster not also going to Kyoto, I
would probably be more encouraging when it comes to the
Asakusa Kannon temple - with Kyoto on the agenda, though,
there's far more to look forward to there. On my last visit to
Asakusa Kannon, I found it crowded and with not much to
offer except for tourist-trap shops. The surrounding area
DOES offer some traditional craft shops, but to see those
you often need to be willing to abandon the tour group and
strike out on your own. (On the last trip I mentioned, I took
a hand-held GPS with me, and got a fix on Ueno station when
there. After that, I took the subway out to Asakusa Kannon,
and then was able to wander the streets while walking back
in the general direction of Ueno - passing through Kappabashi-
dori on the way. I know I saw a lot more of what I would find
personally interesting doing that. For that matter, my personal
preference is just to wander around on my own, so that I can
get farther away from the "tourist stops" and more out in to
the "real" city.)

Asakusa Kannon itself, by the way, is not the original, but a
post-WWII reproduction (as is the case with most such sights
in Tokyo). The history buff wishing to see authentic, original
Japanese temples and other such buildings will again do far
better in Kyoto.


"Day 3 Tokyo (free day)
AM: would like to go to Ghibli Museum in Minatara. I have to get to
Shinjuku station from Roppongi, I think."


Just a reminder - it would again help if you could tell us which
hotel you'll be staying at, so that it will be easier to plan with your
"base of operations" in mind. Shinjuku Station is actually NOT
right on the subway system - it's easier to get to via the JR surface
lines. The nearest subway stops are a little ways west of the
station. Shinjuku Station itself is a must-see, especially around the
morning and evening rush hours, as it is then one of the busiest
in the world (if not THE busiest).


Never heard of that museum. There two excellent museums in Tokyo
itself that you might want to consider - the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which
tells Tokyo's history, and the Tokyo National Museum, which is the
premier collection of traditional Japanese art.

"On the way back, I think I might stop by Nakano for anime shopping if
time permits or I might have to skip and move onto Shinjuku or Shibuya
or Harujuku in the evening. B/c I need to do one of those!!! However,
this is all depending on whether I even get the tix to the museum."


You'll also be able to get your anime fix in Kyoto - I just wish
I could remember the name of the store! It's in one of the major
downtown shopping arcades - anyone else know which one I'm
talking about?


Bob M.


  #25  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Bob Myers
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


wrote in message
oups.com...

Can you still drop the tour? It's easy to get to and explore the
Asakusa Kannon Temple by yourself, and the market street leading up to
it is very interesting - you might want more time in that area, which
also includes many traditional Japanese craft shops. The Imperial
Palace and most of the park surrounding it are closed to visitors
except for two days a year, and the closest you can get the rest of the
time is a distant glimpse of the Palace from one corner of that park,
so I wouldn't really call it a must-see experience for someone on as
short a schedule as you are.


Were the original poster not also going to Kyoto, I
would probably be more encouraging when it comes to the
Asakusa Kannon temple - with Kyoto on the agenda, though,
there's far more to look forward to there. On my last visit to
Asakusa Kannon, I found it crowded and with not much to
offer except for tourist-trap shops. The surrounding area
DOES offer some traditional craft shops, but to see those
you often need to be willing to abandon the tour group and
strike out on your own. (On the last trip I mentioned, I took
a hand-held GPS with me, and got a fix on Ueno station when
there. After that, I took the subway out to Asakusa Kannon,
and then was able to wander the streets while walking back
in the general direction of Ueno - passing through Kappabashi-
dori on the way. I know I saw a lot more of what I would find
personally interesting doing that. For that matter, my personal
preference is just to wander around on my own, so that I can
get farther away from the "tourist stops" and more out in to
the "real" city.)

Asakusa Kannon itself, by the way, is not the original, but a
post-WWII reproduction (as is the case with most such sights
in Tokyo). The history buff wishing to see authentic, original
Japanese temples and other such buildings will again do far
better in Kyoto.


"Day 3 Tokyo (free day)
AM: would like to go to Ghibli Museum in Minatara. I have to get to
Shinjuku station from Roppongi, I think."


Just a reminder - it would again help if you could tell us which
hotel you'll be staying at, so that it will be easier to plan with your
"base of operations" in mind. Shinjuku Station is actually NOT
right on the subway system - it's easier to get to via the JR surface
lines. The nearest subway stops are a little ways west of the
station. Shinjuku Station itself is a must-see, especially around the
morning and evening rush hours, as it is then one of the busiest
in the world (if not THE busiest).


Never heard of that museum. There two excellent museums in Tokyo
itself that you might want to consider - the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which
tells Tokyo's history, and the Tokyo National Museum, which is the
premier collection of traditional Japanese art.

"On the way back, I think I might stop by Nakano for anime shopping if
time permits or I might have to skip and move onto Shinjuku or Shibuya
or Harujuku in the evening. B/c I need to do one of those!!! However,
this is all depending on whether I even get the tix to the museum."


You'll also be able to get your anime fix in Kyoto - I just wish
I could remember the name of the store! It's in one of the major
downtown shopping arcades - anyone else know which one I'm
talking about?


Bob M.


  #26  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:40 PM
Bob Myers
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"koneko" wrote in message
ups.com...


Oh, great idea! =) I hope we get there soon enough. What's the latest
you'd say we should get in Kyoto and settle into the hotel before
heading to Kiyomizudera?


If you get in to Kyoto by early afternoon, you would still have time
for Kiyomizudera and the Gion area. Hopefully, you'll be at a
hotel in the station area (I can personally recommend the Hotel
Granvia, which is run by JR and is actually IN the station), so check
in as quickly as you can then take a taxi to Kiyomizudera. The
temple itself is far more interesting than any you would see in Tokyo,
and then you can walk down the hill into the eastern side of Kyoto's
downtown area. The walk down is lined with tourist shops, by the
way, although many of these do have some interesting goods.

The Gion area and the shopping arcades nearby will be a good
place to wrap up your evening, and there is certainly no shortage
of good places to eat there.

With only a couple of days in Kyoto, you're going to have to
scramble the next day, but I would definitely recommend
including Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) and the Golden Pavilion
(Kinkakuji) on the agenda. If possible, and if you like a
pleasant walk which passes by a number of interesting temples,
the "philosopher's walk" (Tetsugaku-no-michi), which is
again back on the eastern side of town, is a good choice.
Again, the JNTO office just a couple of blocks north of
Kyoto station is a great source of tourist information and
assistance.

Bob M.


  #27  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:40 PM
Bob Myers
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Posts: n/a
Default


"koneko" wrote in message
ups.com...


Oh, great idea! =) I hope we get there soon enough. What's the latest
you'd say we should get in Kyoto and settle into the hotel before
heading to Kiyomizudera?


If you get in to Kyoto by early afternoon, you would still have time
for Kiyomizudera and the Gion area. Hopefully, you'll be at a
hotel in the station area (I can personally recommend the Hotel
Granvia, which is run by JR and is actually IN the station), so check
in as quickly as you can then take a taxi to Kiyomizudera. The
temple itself is far more interesting than any you would see in Tokyo,
and then you can walk down the hill into the eastern side of Kyoto's
downtown area. The walk down is lined with tourist shops, by the
way, although many of these do have some interesting goods.

The Gion area and the shopping arcades nearby will be a good
place to wrap up your evening, and there is certainly no shortage
of good places to eat there.

With only a couple of days in Kyoto, you're going to have to
scramble the next day, but I would definitely recommend
including Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) and the Golden Pavilion
(Kinkakuji) on the agenda. If possible, and if you like a
pleasant walk which passes by a number of interesting temples,
the "philosopher's walk" (Tetsugaku-no-michi), which is
again back on the eastern side of town, is a good choice.
Again, the JNTO office just a couple of blocks north of
Kyoto station is a great source of tourist information and
assistance.

Bob M.


  #28  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:44 PM
Bob Myers
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Default


"koneko" wrote in message
oups.com...

This sounds sort of neat! My only question... is it a bit... stinky?


Not at all! FRESH fish does not have that unpleasant "fishy" smell,
and you won't find it any fresher than here. Be sure to wear good
walking shoes that will be able to cope with wet surfaces, though, as
there is a lot of water and ice around. This is, to me, a must-see that
is somewhat off the usual tourist trail.


I would also put the Meiji Shrine somewhere into the plan as well.


Can you tell me why you like this site better than the Imperial Palace?


Well, for one thing, the shrine itself is at the end of a fairly long and
peaceful walk through a woods (you'll have a hard time believing
you're still in the middle of a big city!), and unlike the Palace you
actually get to go into the grounds and walk in and around the
temple buildings. The Meiji Shrine is also often the site for various
community events - when I was last there, a flower show was in
progress, just for one example. Check the local calendars or with
the concierge at your hotel to see if there's anything interesting scheduled
while you are there. I would also be more willing to skip the Palace if,
like you, I knew I was going to be in Kyoto soon anyway, and could
see the palace and castle that are there instead.

Bob M.


  #29  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:44 PM
Bob Myers
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"koneko" wrote in message
oups.com...

This sounds sort of neat! My only question... is it a bit... stinky?


Not at all! FRESH fish does not have that unpleasant "fishy" smell,
and you won't find it any fresher than here. Be sure to wear good
walking shoes that will be able to cope with wet surfaces, though, as
there is a lot of water and ice around. This is, to me, a must-see that
is somewhat off the usual tourist trail.


I would also put the Meiji Shrine somewhere into the plan as well.


Can you tell me why you like this site better than the Imperial Palace?


Well, for one thing, the shrine itself is at the end of a fairly long and
peaceful walk through a woods (you'll have a hard time believing
you're still in the middle of a big city!), and unlike the Palace you
actually get to go into the grounds and walk in and around the
temple buildings. The Meiji Shrine is also often the site for various
community events - when I was last there, a flower show was in
progress, just for one example. Check the local calendars or with
the concierge at your hotel to see if there's anything interesting scheduled
while you are there. I would also be more willing to skip the Palace if,
like you, I knew I was going to be in Kyoto soon anyway, and could
see the palace and castle that are there instead.

Bob M.


  #30  
Old January 17th, 2005, 08:45 PM
[email protected]
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Shinjuku is defn the more "electronics" shopping area, I gather? I was
wondering, what are the dept. stores like in this area? I am wondering
if I can skip Shibuya and do Shinjuku instead... Tell me, how does
Ginza compare with Shinjuku?"

Shinjuku has some electronics and camera stores, but the main
electronics area is Akihabara, where store after store sells
electronics.

Ginza is the place for luxury shopping, but other than that there's no
reason to go there.

Shibuya has one ultra-luxury department store called Bunkamura, but the
rest of Shibuya is aimed at teenagers - record stores, Internet/manga
cafes, T-shirt stores...

Shinjuku has some huge department stores, which tend to be mid-range
rather than luxury.

" in Tokyo on W-Th-F... Friday night should be a good time to catch
Harajuku, right? Is Harajuku closer to Shibuya? The youth culture
sounds really fascinating too!"

Harajuku is pretty dead on friday night though...it's about a 20-minute
walk or 3-minute train ride from Shibuya. If you do want to try to see
the youth culture, the places to go are the 109 Building in Shibuya,
and the entrance to Yoyogi Park near Harajuku Station.

 




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